Power shifts at survivor Eskom

2014-09-28 15:00

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Resignations of two more top executives nearly complete the exodus of parastatal’s leadership

The resignation of two more senior Eskom executives this week all but eliminates the entire executive team put together by the company’s former chief executive, Brian Dames.

This provides a clean slate for incoming CEO Tshediso Matona, who was appointed to the job by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown earlier this month.

The resignation of both Stephen Lennon, Eskom’s group executive for sustainability; and Erica Johnson, group executive for enterprise development, came to light this week.

Both were said to be strong contenders for the CEO position back in 2010, when Dames took the job, and again last year, when Dames resigned.

Speculation is rife that both resigned precisely because they were overlooked twice and acting CEO Collin Matjila was instead appointed late last year.

Matona takes up his new position next week.

Johnson did not answer her cellphone or respond to SMS questions.

Lennon told the Mail?&?Guardian earlier in the week that he would not comment on his resignation, but said he would spend another six months at the company and afterwards make himself available if his experience was needed.

Lennon is leaving only next year, but Johnson will be out of the door next month after handing in her resignation five months ago.

Their resignations, with six months’ notice, nearly complete the exodus of Eskom’s leadership.

The pace of change has been astonishing.

Of the executives running Eskom in 2010 when Dames got the top job, not one remains. Of the eight-person team Dames put together in his first year at Eskom, two people remain.

More telling is that five of Eskom’s 10 executives at the end of March last year have now either left or given notice.

According to Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger, the large number of executive resignations and the fact that some of the remaining executives now have two portfolios

“is not impacting on continuity”.

Underneath the committee, there are 60 general managers and this level of management is “intact”, he told City Press.

The resignations over the past 18 months are also mostly outside the most crucial “line functions” (generation, transmission, distribution and customer service), according to Etzinger.

The executives Eskom has lost since last year are:

.?Brian Dames, CEO

.?Paul O’Flaherty, finance director. He tendered his resignation in November 2012, but only vacated his post on July 10 2013

.?Bhabhalazi Bulunga, HR manager since 2010. He went on “early retirement” in January this year

.?Stephen Lennon, head of sustainability, who has given his notice

.?Erica Johnson, group executive for enterprise development, as well as acting head of customer service, who has also given her notice.

Dames, Lennon and Johnson all had decades-long careers at Eskom before becoming executives – and then resigned after relatively short stints at the top.

The five members of the executive who have been there since before last year are:

.?Thava Govender, group executive: generation

.?Ayanda Noah, group executive: distribution

.?Mongezi Ntsokolo, group executive: transmission, as well as acting group executive: human resources

.?Dan Marokane, acting group executive: capital

.?Matshela Koko, who joined the executive in May as acting group executive: technology and commercial

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